CHURRROS, The Slender Sugary Donut
Who has had churros? Well if you haven't, find a recipe online or better yet (if you have money) fly to Spain and have the most delicious and yet simplest sweet donut. Churros is the equivalent of a Spanish donut, however instead of a circular, filled or glazed donuts that you get at Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts it is long, edgy and full of sugar.
Initially Churros is a breakfast treat which is accompanied by a pot of delicious chocolate sauce or dulce de leche. How churros came to popular demand is still uncertain. There are some articles that suggest churros came from the nomadic Spanish herders in the mountains as they didn't have bakeries, so they created churros and cooked it over a frying pan. The second story is that Portuguese sailors had a similar food in Northern China called “You Tiao” and they brought it back with them. So in terms of who invented it it was either the Spanish, Portuguese or the Chinese, however Churros are mainly associated as a Spanish snack/ dessert.
Now if you look online there are thousands of churros recipes. Some recipes are basic, others are filled (which i'm still trying to figure out how) but there are thousands that one can use. However I realised there are several recipes that have egg and don't have egg. What's the difference between the two and which is the traditional recipe?
DELISH About a month ago I went to Mexican themed pot luck and I made churros as my contribution, which I also learned is quite popular in Mexico. I found a very basic but yet delicious churro recipe from. The recipe was straight forward it had water, butter, sugar, flour, vanilla extract, and an egg. Pretty simple to make but however I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to making churros for this recipe, you have to make them as soon as the dough is ready! The day of the potluck I had left them in the freezer and then shifted the piped frozen churro mixture to the fridge, as we had to make room for the ice for our margaritas that we were making on the day (priorities were for tequila). Either way it turned out to be a mess and instead of getting long edgy, strips of churros, I ended up serving blobs of fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar. It was good thanks to the accompaniment of the chocolate sauce and the cinnamon sugar but in terms of execution I had failed. So couple weeks went by and I still had the urge to perfect my churro skills. I decided to make churros again with the same recipe, but make them fresh and they came out LIKE A CHURRO! A lot smaller than what the video of the recipe showed but I think that is due to my piping bag and the nozzle that I had used. It was perfection nonetheless, I could've toned down with the cinnamon sugar but who doesn't love sugar?
Then recently I decided to make churros again but this time with a recipe that doesn't have eggs in it. This recipe was from my Spanish cookbook that I own called Omar Allibhoy's Tapas Revolution. Now in this recipe it omits three ingredients in comparison to the DELISH recipe and that is butter, sugar, vanilla and egg. Olive oil is used instead of butter and it is put in after the flour is mixed with the water and the only sugar in this recipe, is when the churro is coated in it after it's been fried. Now before I give Omar's recipe I can say that this recipe is very simple and basic which makes me believe that Omar's recipe would be the traditional way of making churro. Compared to DELISH the churro dough needed to be kneaded for a bit in order to create elasticity in the dough before it was fried. Now the only problem I had with Omar's recipe was that I had great difficulty piping out the dough.
The dough was a bit rubbery but you definitely need strength to press out the dough out of the piping bag, which sad to say I did not have haha. It truly made me realise the benefits of going to the gym and doing bicep curls or just general arm exercises in order to gain muscle. So I tried, hence the word tried, to make a design with out the piping bag which sort of worked. However there was a problem, the cinnamon sugar which the churros are rolled into did not completely stick to the fried dough. Which made me realise why the star shaped piping nozzle is very important to use while making the churros because, it not only makes it look pretty but it also helps the cinnamon sugar stick to the churro. The design that I had made were swirls, which evidently was much better than my rolled sticks that I had made in the beginning because after they were fried they looked like breadsticks. Besides how they looked, the churros tasted great. Just like the DELISH churros but with more dough too bite into.
During this time what I have learned whilst making two different churros recipes, is that anything fried is just delicious! Both recipes from DELISH and from OMAR once the dough was fried it was appetising, it had the right amount of crunch on the outside and the dough on the inside was soft and perfectly cooked. I can say the DELISH recipe was easier to manage in regards of putting the dough in the piping bag but yet it was relatively sweet with the sugar in the dough and the added coating of sugar after it was fried. Omar's recipe was yummy but it was difficult to manage. There were definite pros and cons to both recipes but in the end my favourite was Omar's recipe, the doughnut tasted great and it had the right amount of sweetness. My aim for next time, is to go to the gym and get that arm strength to be able to pip out Omar's churro's dough or get a bigger pipping bag and nozzle in order to make Omar's churros properly. But then again if I was able to pip out his dough you guys wouldn't see the difference between the two. Churros are definitely great for a snack or a dessert when you have a gathering of some sort or when its just a regular Wednesday afternoon.
If you interested in making Omar Alliobhay's Churros, please continue reading and I'll write down his recipe and if you want to eat some delicious Spanish food he apparently has some restaurants across the UK (https://www.tapasrevolution.com/menus) so if your keen and are in the area check him out, from reading and cooking from some of his recipes his food is realllllllllly goood.
Until next time!
Recipe is from OMAR ALLIOBHAY's TAPA REVOLUTION cookbook:
CHURROS CON CHOCOLATE (SPANISH DOUGHNUTS WITH CHOCOLATE)
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
400 ml water
400 g strong white flour ( I used all purpose flour, as that's what I could find)
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
750 ml vegetable oil (for deep frying)
caster sugar and ground cinnamon (optional) for dusting - [ make this mandatory step haha]
1. Bring the water to the boil. Meanwhile place the flour and salt in a large pan and place over a very low heat. Stir lightly for 3-4 minutes so that the flour dries out and becomes fluffy.
2. As soon as the water has boiled, pour it over the flour and mix it with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute until a dough starts to form. Don't over-mix and don't worry if there are still some lumps in it as you can always finish it by hand once it has cooled down slightly. Halfway through mixing add the olive oil.
3. When the dough is still warm, knead for 1 minute. Place in a piping bag (not plastic) with a 8 point star- shaped nozzle and spread out a sheet of baking parchment. Start squeezing the batter on the parchment to make the churros. Let me warn you, it's hard work so make sure you don't strain any muscles. At this point you could freeze the churros and cook later (they can be cooked straight from the freezer)
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large deep pan ideally you want it to be 230 - 240C to get that delicious crispy outside and soft interior. To test whether the oil is hot enough, drop a small piece of the dough into the oil - if it immediately floats to the surface and starts fizzing away then the oil is hot enough. If it sinks, wait a little longer.
5. Once the oil is hot enough carefully slide your churros, a few at a time, into the pan. Cook them for 40 seconds on one side and 30 seconds on the other side. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and repeat until all your churros are cooked. They should be very crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Make sure the temperature of the oil doesn't drop, as your churros will not cook properly. Dust liberally with sugar mixed a little ground cinnamon while they are still warm.
6. For the chocolate, just bring the milk to the boil for a pot and just before boiling point add the chocolate powder while whisking. Stir constantly for 10 minutes so the chocolate doesn't burn on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the dark chocolate at the end to give nice body and intensify the flavour. Serve the chocolate in a cup and dip your churros in it.